New standards are
tailored to the needs and situations of students in higher education
February 9, 2012, Tucson, Arizona -- Responding to the needs
of service providers, CARF International released accreditation standards for
student counseling. The standards are in the newly published 2012 Behavioral
Health Standards Manual, available in electronic and print formats at www.carf.org/catalog
(in Canada, www.carf.org/catalogue).
Student counseling programs serve as the primary behavioral
health resource for higher education campus communities and their students.
Services include individual, family, and/or group counseling, prevention,
education, and outreach.
The student counseling standards can be applied on CARF
surveys conducted after June 30 this year.
The standards were drafted by a focus group and then
submitted to CARF's International Advisory Council for review. CARF's approach
to an inclusive standards development process culminated in a broad field
review, which invited comment from interested professionals and the public,
prior to the standards' adoption.
The accreditation standards were drafted as it became
evident that a growing number of mental health centers were contracting with
university systems to provide their student counseling services. One
provider, Steve Ronik, Ph.D., CEO of Henderson Behavioral Health in Fort
Lauderdale, Florida, said that more than a year ago his company began staffing
the student counseling center of a major university and a community college
with a combined student population of more than 70,000.
"Our first priority was to ensure we were providing
services in accordance with established best practices. We found one
accrediting body that provided standards for student counseling, but it
restricted its accreditation to only universities. It was unaccustomed to
accrediting behavioral healthcare systems," Ronik explained.
"That discovery prompted us to think about CARF
accreditation because of CARF's record of excellence and its focus on outcomes
and consumer satisfaction," Ronik continued. "Students need and
deserve an evidence-based level of service that's specific to their unique
needs and situations."
Nikki Migas, managing director of CARF's Behavioral Health
accreditation area, said, "The student counseling standards are designed
to provide students with opportunities to develop personal insight, identify
and solve problems, and implement positive strategies to better manage their
lives both academically and personally. In addition to working directly with
students, program goals can be realized through outreach, partnerships, and
consultation initiatives with faculty, staff, parents, students' internships
sites, or other educational entities or community partners."
CARF's leadership in framing standards is backed by its
46-year history of accrediting health and human services.
2/9/2012 3:05:00 AM